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Patriarchal inscribed bodies : a feminist theological engagement with body and sexuality in the “Worthy Women Movement”

Stander, Sunelle (2016-03-01)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Gretha Wiid is the female leader of the Worthy Women Movement in South Africa. Wiid‟s discourse promotes female subordination and male headship. Her teachings seem to suggest that when wives submit to their husbands, husbands will be enabled to take back their rightful and God-given position as head of the household. Through a feminist theological lens, Wiid‟s discourse can be categorised according to the following themes: Female submission and male headship; Gender identities; and the female body and sexuality. Despite the oppressive nature of Wiid‟s discourse, with its patriarchal and formenist overtones, the Worthy Women Movement is highly popular and attracts thousands of women to yearly conferences. When approaching the question with regard to the reasons behind the popularity of the movement, the context of a post-apartheid South Africa that is in transition, as well as the intersections that exist between gender, class and race (more specifically whiteness), seem to play a significant role. Although internalised oppression might play a role in the popularity of the movement, themes of patriarchal bargaining can also be detected. With all of these factors taken into consideration, it seems as if Wiid and the followers of the Worthy Women Movement are bargaining with female subordination in exchange for a utopian future of a faithful and loving husband, as well as more stability and security in the post-apartheid South African context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Gretha Wiid is die vroulike leier van die Worthy Women beweging in Suid Afrika. Wiid se diskoers bevorder vroulike onderdanigheid en manlike hoofdyskap. Wiid onderrig die vroulike ondersteuners van die beweging dat vrouens deur middel van onderdanigheid hul mans instaat kan stel om hul posisies as hoof van die huishouding in te neem. Deur middel van ‘n feministies teologiese lens, kan Wiid se diskoers volgens die volgende temas gekategoriseer word: Vroulike onderanigheid en manlike hoofdyskap; Geslagsrolle; en Die vroulike liggaam en seksualiteit. Wiid se diskoers wat patriargale en formenistiese (formenist) ondertone bevat, kan as onderdrukkend teenoor vrouens beskou word. Ten spyte hiervan is die Worthy Women beweginguiters populêr met duisende vrouens die jaarlikse konferensies bywoon. Met betrekking tot die vraag na die rede vir die populariteit van die Worthy Women beweging, blyk dit dat die konteks van ‘n post-apartheid Suid-Afrika wat tans in oorgang is, asook die interseksies tussen gender, ras (meer spesifiek witheid) ‘n rol speel. Alhoewel geïnternaliseerde onderdrukking wel ‘n rol kan speel, kan temas van patriargale handelsdryf (patriarchal bargaining) in Wiid se diskoers geïdentifiseer word. Met al die genoemde faktore in ag geneem blyk dit asof Wiid en die ondersteuners van die Worthy Women bewegingonderhandel met vroulike onderdangheid ten einde ‘n utopiese toekoms van’n betrokke en liefdevolle eggenoot behels, asook ‘n meer stabiele en veiliger situasie binne die post-apartheid Suid Afrikaanse konteks.

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